Veteran Congress leader and party’s presidential poll candidate Mallikarjun Kharge will, on Wednesday, visit the state capital as part of his campaign for the October 17 election.
According to a senior Congress leader, more than 500 Congress delegates are expected to exercise their franchise to elect their national president.
Upon reaching Bhopal, the Rajya Sabha MP will meet senior Congress leaders following which he will address the press at party headquarters. The upcoming presidential polls will witness a battle between Gandhi family loyalist Kharge, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) Shashi Tharoor. Interestingly, both the candidates in fray belong to southern parts of the country.
Notably, Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath has already announced his support to Kharge. However, he also added that the other party delegates are free to choose their leader.
Reportedly, the veteran leader has an edge over Tharoor in Madhya Pradesh as he has the backing of both top leaders Kamal Nath and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh.
Meanwhile, will is scheduled to visit the state on October 14, Sangeeta Sharma, vice-president of Madhya state party media cell, told IANS.
Interestingly, Kharge has filed his nomination for post of Congress chief at the last moment when Digvijaya Singh had prepared for the same and even a dozen of party MLA had reached New Delhi on September 30. However, at the last moment, Digvijaya backed out and extended his support to Kharge.
During his visit to Bihar a couple of days ago, Kharge had alleged that “the BJP keeps whining that there is no internal democracy in the Congress which is totally baseless. All decisions are taken after due consultations and following a due procedure. It is they who do not care for such niceties. They change chief ministers in the states ruled by their party at their will. Also, the people are appointed, given extensions without any explanation.”
Around 9,000 delegates in the electoral college of the party across the country are eligible to vote in the polls. The process of electing the party’s president involves the Block Congress Committees, which elect delegates to the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC), who in turn elect delegates to the AICC.
Delegates to the AICC include former PCC presidents who have held office for at least a year and continue to be members of the party.
The party last saw a contest for the post in November 2000. Jitendra Prasada had lost to Sonia Gandhi in 2000, and prior to that, Sitaram Kesri had defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot in 1997.